Benapole Customs officials, C&F agents and local importers were all waiting to receive the products at the port
A total of 57 trucks laden with jute seeds from India are stalled at Petrapole port, awaiting entry to Benapole port.
Indian exporters had promised to release the goods since March 28, but to no avail, Bangladeshi traders alleged.
Benapole Customs officials, C&F agents and local importers were all waiting to receive the products at the port. They feared the price of jute seeds may double if India did not dispatch the item in a day or two.
Sources at the district's Department of Agriculture Extension (DAE) office said import permit was given to bring 5,000 tons jute seeds and 1,500 tons of nesta (oilseed).
As of March 21, 1,835 tons of the two items were imported from India, while the rest were to be dispatched soon.
Kartik Chakraborty, general secretary of Petrapole C&F Staff Welfare Association, said India was in a state of lockdown since March 22, until April 14.
"We had received permission to dispatch the jute seeds to Benapole Port, but our truck drivers did not want to risk getting quarantined upon returning to India," he added.
Abdur Razzak, a C&F agent in Benapole port, said seven of his trucks containing jute seeds were stalled at Petrapole. If they were not dispatched in a day or two, he would face Tk5-6 lakh loss per truck.
Assistant Commissioner of Benapole Custom House, Uttam Chakma, said Bangladesh Customs had no objection to the import of jute and oil seeds if India exported those. If imported, then the arrangement would be made to fast-track its clearance.
Benapole Port Deputy Director (Traffic) Mamun Kabir Tarafadar said that if jute and oil seeds were imported from India, disinfectants would be sprayed on Indian drivers and helpers, after which they would be allowed to enter Benapole port. They would also confirm their body temperatures with hand thermal scanners.
Hemant Kumar, deputy officer of the Benapole Plant Quarantine Centre, said if the Indian authorities exported the jute and oil seeds, they would do their best to quickly arrange for clearance in the country.